Speech and Debate State qualifier, sophomore Mercedes Moore: “I am here and I matter.”


Photo submitted by Mercedes Moore

Sophomore Mercedes Moore prepares for her first Speech and Debate competition of the season at Concord High School on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020.

Daniela Morales, Staff Writer

Second year Speech and Debate competitor, Sophomore Mercedes Moore qualified for State in late March; however, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was canceled. 

“I was devastated that State was canceled, but I’m just happy I got to perform as much as I did and I respect the association’s decision to keep everyone safe,” Moore said. 

But this isn’t Moore’s first State competition. As a freshman, she placed 12th in the State even when she was “thrown in at the last minute at the recommendation of my theatre teacher, Mr. Efsits,” Moore said. 

Speech and Debate is a passion that Moore discovered during her 8th grade year, but she didn’t always feel confident in her talent.

“Although I love performing, I used to have very bad performance anxiety,” Moore explained. “My eighth grade communications teacher put me down a lot, so I kept pursuing my passion partly out of wanting to prove my worth as a performer to her. This drove me to excel and got me where I am today.” 

Besides being “New to all this,” as Moore said, she continues to prove that her passion for speech is strong by working hard to prepare for each competition.

Before getting into speech, Moore would be found performing in musicals at the Lerner Theatre.

“I really didn’t like singing and dancing,” she said. “The acting is what interested me the most.”

Going into junior year, Moore is looking forward to the seasons to come. 

“Sharing your story of survival, political opinions, or simply sharing your voice with the audience [is what I love about Speech]. It’s beautiful to have a moment to unapologetically express yourself and have people actually listen,” Moore said. “It gives a voice to anyone and everyone. I was born to live unapologetically and unconditionally true to myself, just as everyone in these competitions was. This is where we get the chance to say: ‘I am here and I matter.’”